The Dark Tunnel

 

Making a swing change is in many ways like venturing through a dark tunnel. The first couple steps aren’t too bad. You walk in quickly, sure of yourself and your commitment to get to the other end. You take a lesson, listen to your coach and his diagnosis, and leave the range full of confidence.

The real trouble begins once you can’t see where you came from, or where you’re going. You’ve arrived at the range, hit your first dozen balls, and nothing feels the same. You think back to what the instructor said, but you can’t tell if you’re doing it correctly. Worst of all, you’re playing this weekend at your friend’s private club.

The weekend comes, and you need to play well. You run back out of the tunnel the way you came in, abandoning your coach’s instructions in favor of what is familiar. The round goes about the same way it always does, and you leave frustrated that you spent money on lessons and are still playing poorly.

When embarking on a swing change, there are things you can do to ensure you make it to the end of the tunnel in one piece:

Understand, first of all, that this is at least a 3-6 week process, based on your experience level and the frequency of your practice.

  1.  Get your coach to break your instructions down in to simple terms and clear pictures.
  2.  Understand how to use feedback to shorten your learning curve (contact & ball-flight patterns)
  3.  Document your practice sessions. What drills you worked on, what the results were, and what clubs were used.
  4.  Be patient! Trust in the process, and know that a brighter golfing future lies ahead.

The tunnel is scary because we don’t know what to expect. Things like training aids and swing videos are like having someone turn the lights on in the tunnel. The written instructions accompanied by pictures (before & after) are like having a map of the tunnel.

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As a coach, it’s my job to be at the other end of the tunnel, encouraging the student to follow my voice and not give up. When the student knows what to expect, they can better prepare for the danger that awaits.

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